Fresh protests rock Kashmir, 10 injured

June 2nd, 2009 - 3:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, June 2 (IANS) Fresh violence engulfed the Jammu and Kashmir summer capital Tuesday as angry residents clashed with security personnel to protest the alleged rape and murder of two women last week. Ten people were injured, including one hit by a rubber bullet.
Strict curfew like restrictions were in place for the second day running in Srinagar as a shutdown called by senior hardline separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani, paralysed life across the Kashmir Valley.

The deaths last Saturday of the two women, Nilofar Jan, 22, and her niece, Asiya Jan, 17, have caused Valley-wide outrage. The women were found dead in a stream near Shopian town after they had gone to collect fodder from the fields. Their relatives and locals allege that they were raped and murdered.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Monday ordered a judicial probe into the deaths of the women and also ordered immediate transfer of the Shopian district magistrate M.R. Thakur.

On Tuesday, heavy police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) reinforcements were moved into the various city areas to strictly enforce an undeclared curfew following Monday’s large scale protests.

Angry youths grouped in various uptown localities of Batmallo, Noorbagh, Safakadal, Malik Sahib, Chanpora and Watal Kadal and clashed with steel helmeted police and CRPF troopers.

The mobs, shouting anti-India slogans, pelted stones at security forces who responded with baton charges and lobbed tear gas shells.

Ten people were injured in clashes. Four of the injured were taken to SMHS hospital for treatment.

One person was injured when police fired rubber bullets to disperse stone pelting crowds in the Batmallo locality.

Authorities said the situation in the city was tense but under control. “We have imposed the restrictions as a precautionary measure,” said a police officer here.

Security forces have blocked road intersections in the old city by placing coils of wire fitted with razors and barricades.

No movement is being allowed in the old city areas where mobs had Monday indulged in heavy stone pelting on security forces.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti led a protest march through the city Lal Chowk Tuesday. Shouting ‘Punish the Shopian guilty’ and ‘Solve the Kashmir problem’ slogans, the PDP leaders and activists were escorted by a large posse of police and paramilitary CRPF.

Zamrooda Habib of the Hurriyat Conference led a group of slogan-shouting women in the city centre, Lal Chowk. She was later arrested by the police.

A report from north Kashmir’s Bandipore said groups of protesters threw stones at policemen. Angry youth smashed window panes of passing vehicles in south Kashmir’s Awantipore town.

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